tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 10, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
jake we reached out to both bezos and sanchez for comment to the enquirer report. neither responded to our request. jake? >> jason carroll, thank you so much. you can follow me on twitter or at the lead cnn. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, back against the wall, president trump returning from the southern border, declaring he's almost ready to declare a national emergency to get his wall built. with negotiations in the state of collapse, is that the only way to end the government shutdown? i never said this. one of his key campaign slogans was that mexico would pay for a wall. now the president insists he never said those words or actually meant them. so if he starts building a wall, are u.s. taxpayers now on the hook? cohen public.
already pled guilty and faces three years in prison. now president trump's former lawyer michael cohen will testify publicly before congress. the president says he's not worried. should he be? blocking the report. with the muller probe winding down, the president's legal team is getting ready for a battle over executive privilege. can the white house keep congress and the public from seeing the special counsel's report? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news, president trump is on his way back from the southern border, a visit he earlier dismissed as simply a photo-op. he spent the day insisting there's a crisis only a wall can fix and makes it clear he's ready to declare a national emergency. that would let him start a wall without congressional funding. the main obstacle to ending the 20-day government shutdown. white house lawyers are laying the groundwork for such a move. and with the mueller
investigation, clearly in its own stretch, the president's legal team is also preparing for a major fight over executive privilege. cnn has learned they believe much of the special counsel's report should be kept from congress and the american public. but new light may be shed on the russia investigation as former trump lawyer michael cohen has now agreed to testify publicly before congress. i'll speak with maize hirona of the judiciary committee. our correspondents are sfanding by with full coverage. let's begin with the breaking news and robert mueller's investigation and bring in our senior justice correspondent evan perez and crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz. why does the white house want to block the mueller report from becoming public? doesn't that make the president appear to be guilty? >> they don't believe it does. it comes down what you said, executive privilege. they believe that the information that the white house shared with the special counsel is protected by the president's
constitutional powers, essentially his right to get confidential advice from his advisers. and so when they shared that information with the investigators, they did not give up the right, in essence, to challenge that information from becoming public. so one of the things that we expect to happen when the mueller investigation ends up wrapping up and when he produces a final report, wolf, we expect that one of the big things that's going to happen, it's going to move to a new phase, essentially a new political and legal fight here in washington over what and what portions of the report become public, what portions get even turned over to members of congress. and so we expect, perhaps, some more political and legal fighting, perhaps some of this going back to the courts before the public gets to see any of this. >> so shimon, if the white house successfully argues that this report can't be released publicly because of what's called executive privilege, is there any other way that members of congress and the american
public, for that matter, could get their hands on it? >> there could be subpoenas that could be issued for it. the department of justice for this information. there's a chance that robert mueller will come before these committees. they're going to want to ask him questions about the investigation, about what he was doing, about some of the things that he had been looking at, some of the things that his members were looking at. that's how some of this could possibly come out as well. just because the white house exerts their executive privilege doesn't mean it ends there. there's going to be -- i think everyone expects battles down the line to try to get this information from the department of justice and from robert mueller, too. >> and there's another major development that's unfolding right now in the russia probe. cnn has learned that the president's lawyers are deeply concerned that the president's public statements, his tweets, his lies over the course of the last few years potentially could be used by this special counsel's team as evidence that he obstructed justice or tried
to influence witnesses. >> wolf, one of the things that's happening behind the scenes is everybody is getting ready for whatever mueller comes up with in his investigation. this is one of the smaller things that's been going on behind the scenes. and that has to do with some of the questions that mueller's investigators have been asking of some of the witnesses, the white house lawyers have noticed, for instance, that in the michael cohen sentencing documents, the special counsel seems to be pursuing this legal theory that if you make public statements that are false or misleading, that they believe are false or misleading, there could be an attempt to coach witnesses, to try to get other witnesses to also line up false and misleading testimony. and in that way could be called obstruction of justice. if you look at the president's lawyers, they believe that that is a very thin ground for the special counsel. they believe any public statements made by the president are protected by the first amendment, for instance, and they don't believe that this is
really something that the special counsel is going to win on, but for sure they have already noticed this and they want to make sure that they're going to be ready to fight the special counsel if this ends up being part of the report that robert mueller produces. >> if that were not enough, another major development that's been unfolding. evan, it was revealed that the president's campaign chairman, as we all know, paul manafort, that he released confidential, internal trump campaign polling data to a russian who was well placed with the russian military unit, gru, according to u.s. officials and that potentially that could have been used to help the russians, the gru, go ahead and engage in the hack e-mails of the clinton campaign. cnn now has exclusive reporting. you've been working on this, as we know, that the trump campaign's chief pollster was
actually called to testify before mueller's team earlier last year. >> that's right, wolf. our team that keeps an eye on the special counsel noticed tony fabrizio, chief pollster for the campaign, go into special counsel several months ago. we've known this now for several months but it takes on new importance, really in light of this new reporting, in light of this new revelation from robert mueller -- from paul manafort that this internal polling had been turn over to this russian, somebody he has done business with. why was that information being turned over? we no that fabrizio went in, provided an interview to the special counsel. we're told by a person familiar with the interview that he was asked a lot about manafort and what his knowledge was with regard to manafort and his
business. we do not know what else he was asked about. we also don't know whether there were any follow-up interviews. you can see fabrizio is going in and out of the special counsel's office there. our reporters stand there, keep an eye on the office were the ones who noticed this. so the question is, wolf, did any of this go back to the president? the president himself was asked about whether he knew that manafort had provided this information to the russians. take a listen to what he had to sa say. >> do you know paul manafort was sharing polling data from your campaign to the russians? >> no, i didn't know anything about it. >> of course, the answer to that question, we'll find out whether mueller has a different answer from what the president has. >> i suspect they wanted to find out from fabrizio, the pollster, any of that information, that manafort provided to the russians for whatever lien was used in the hacking of the dnc, the hillary clinton campaign and the wikileaks campaign that the
u.s. government alleges the russians coordinated. another major development. all of a sudden we've learned michael cohen, the president's long-time former lawyer and fixer, has now agreed to testify publicly open session before the house oversight committee early next month. >> and, wolf, quite honestly, this will be a big, big day here in this investigation. and i think this is something that we have not seen in quite some time. we're talking perhaps watergate era. in terms of you're going to have the president's personal attorney come in and just open up on everything he knows. and the other significant thing that we just learned is that robert mueller has cleared him to testify. so, that should tell you something there, too, in a sense that perhaps mueller is now done with him. whatever information he has been providing to them about russia is now over and so mueller is at a point where he feels, you know what, michael cohen, you can go ahead and publicly tell members
of congress, tell the public what you know. this is going to be be a day, certainly, that is going to not sit well with the white house. they should be worried about this day. they're going to make every effort they can to probably discredit michael cohen in the months leading up to the day he testifies and also keep in mind, this is going to be a month -- he's going to testify a month before he reports to jail. he could -- to prison. he could be seeking some more leniency from the judge, but whatever the case may be, this is going to be blockbuster. he's going to come in and talk about these hush payments, these payments that he says the president directed him to make. the department of justice has implicated the president in this crime. it's going to be a big day. >> and any false statements. >> the moscow project. >> right. and did anyone at the white house condone the line to members of congress when he first appeared at congress to talk about the line, about the
moscow project? and did anyone in the white house know he was going to go and lie? did anyone sign off on it? those are going to be huge questions. >> what is really significant -- this is a big deal in early february. cohen goes before the house oversight committee a month later as you point out, begins his three-year prison sentence. the fact that mueller and his team allowed the house oversight, gave their blessings to the house oversight committee to allow him to go up to capitol hill and testify in open session, it seems to suggest, a, they probably believe what cohen is saying now but, b, it looks like things are wrapping up. otherwise, they wouldn't want him to go out and spill the beans. >> exactly, wolf. i think this changes the complexion of this investigation. everything has been behind the scenes. mueller doesn't speak about what exactly he's doing except in indictments. now we're going to have public hearings. and this really kind of -- as shimon says, a water heater. this has the potential of changing the public view, public
perception of the president, of this investigation. and i think it's a preview of what the democrats plan to do going forward in this investigation. >> it's going to open the door for other things to come in, too. does the hush payment became a central part of this investigation and do other people who were involved in it, like david pecker, "the national enquirer," do those people get called into congress? does michael cohen open the door to other parts of this investigation? it's quite possible that could happen. the thing that's been saving the president politically and publicly, many people have been constrained to speaking because of robert mueller. once that investigation is over, as we're seeing, and robert mueller is giving his blessing and saying go ahead, do what you need to do, things will change dramatically. people will be able to speak. >> february 7th. that's the day he testifies. i guess we'll be busy on february 7th, watching those hearings live. march 6th, he begins his three-year prison sentence. we'll be watching that very
closely, guys. i know you're working your sources. you've done a great job today. get us some more news if you can. thank you very much. there's other major news we're watching. i want to discuss all of this with democratic senator maize hirono of hawaii. senator, thanks so much for joining us. >> good to see you. >> let's begin with the russian probe, the president's legal team may be preparing to exert executive privilege to try to block a report from the special counsel robert mueller. how would democrats respond to such a maneuver? >> it's not surprising that the president would try to hide everything that he can, but we're going to do everything we can to make sure that not only is the report given to members of congress, but that it is made public. >> does that suggest to you, though, that the white house is preparing for potentially an extreme extremely damning report from the special counsel? >> i would say that that is their expectation, but their whole perspective has been, at
least from the president's side, that the mueller investigation is a witch hunt, but i think that they are having to be very serious about what their response is going to be and they're going to do everything they can. i think he's hiring a lot more lawyers. they expect investigations to occur from the three chairs of the relevant house committees. so they need to be prepared. but at the same time i want to make sure that there is nothing that interferes with the mueller investigation. that includes the questioning of the attorney general nominee, barr. >> he will be testifying for his confirmation hearings before the senate judiciary, i understand. >> yes. >> i'm sure you'll have a lot of questions. white house meanwhile, as you heard, believes that mueller is pursuing a strategy of president trump's public statements, finding the public statements, his tweets, other public statements to try to build a case against him. do you believe that lying to the
american public, to the public constitutes an obstruction of justice? >> i think there are certain statements that he has made that goes to perhaps indicating to witnesses how they should testify. the president lies every single day but there are those lies that go to probably a cumulative argument that he has engaged in obstruction of justice and that is fair game for robert mueller's investigation. >> let me give your thoughts on the exclusive report. last year he met with tony fabrizio that manafort shared internal confidential polling information with a russian asset. what's your reaction to this new report? >> once again it raises the real specter of what kind of discussions were going on with the people who are heading up the trump campaign and his sons,
all of that. this again points out how important it is for the mueller investigation to proceed without any kind of limitations being placed on it. >> the president's former personal attorney and fixer, michael cohen, has accepted an invitation to testify publicly before the house oversight committee on march -- excuse me, february 7th. february 7th. should that worry the president? >> i think he's worried about a lot of things, and this is why he constantly engages in efforts to distract us from what's going on. i think he should be very worried, because elijah cummings is going to ask the kind of questions that will reveal what was really going on and what did donald trump know. he certainly directed the payments, as michael cohen has already testified. >> and the fact that mueller has authorized, approved, has sanctioned the cohen testimony before congressman elijah
cummings' committee, what does that say to you? >> well, people are saying, and i think it probably is the case, that perhaps mueller is winding down certain aspects of his investigation. so he's going to let michael cohen, who has already been sentenced, so that's going to be very revealing. and i know that everybody is going to be watching that, especially the trump people. >> let's turn to the ongoing government shutdown on day 20. president trump said today he will almost definitely declare a national emergency in order to get his border wall built, he would direct funds that are supposed to go to the department of defense, u.s. military used that money to build the wall along the border with mexico. how would democrats respond to that? >> for one thing, this is a vanity wall and he has caused a government shutdown so he can get the wall. it makes no distinction between right and wrong. he doesn't care.
and so the other person who can end the shutdown right now, apart from the president who has no intention of doing that, is our majority leader, mitch mcconnell. he can bring the bill that the house has already passed to keep government running and these are the same bills that we already passed in the senate last year. he has the power to bring those bills to the floor right now. and what his lame excuse this morning was that, well, it won't do any good, even if we pass these bills out of the senate. the president won't sign it. we are a separate branch of government. i am calling on mitch mcconnell to do this job to use the power he has to end this shutdown. we're not just talking about some theatrical harm, 800,000 people who need their paychecks won't get them. not to mention the thousands of contractors and the ripple effect that will ensue. so mitch mcconnell is the second person, aside from the president, who won't do anything
because the president is amoral and is a hostage taker. we shouldn't be negotiating with a hostage taker. mitch mcconnell can bring these bills to the floor. and i'm calling on all the republicans to listen to their constituents, who are in great pain, to say to mitch mcconnell -- and some of them have come forward, which is a good thing. more of them need to come forward to mitch mcconnell and say let's do our jobs, reopen government and then we can argue about the wall with regard to funding for homeland security. >> very quickly, you say the president is a hostage taker. what do you mean specifically? >> he's taking 800,000 federal employees hostage so he can get his vanity wall. that's what i mean. he is a hostage taker. he can't negotiate about the wall on the substance of it. he has to take 800,000 people hostage in order to get what he wants. this is a vanity wall. of course, we democrats want border security, but we want it to be a smart border security, not the kind of physical wall
that so many people say is not going to do the job. so he has created this crisis. it's a manufactured crisis and he's doing everything he can to make everybody believe that he's literally up against the wall, and the only real wall is the one that's closing in on him. >> senator hirono, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. president trump heads home from the southern border after claiming he never said mexico would give the u.s. a check to pay for the border wall. and the president's legal team gets ready for a major fight over who will get to see the special counsel's russia report. can the white house block it from the public or from congress?
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breaking stories. the president is heading home from the u.s./mexican border, signaling he is prepared to declare a national emergency to get his wall built. along the border in mcallen, texas, jim acosta, any sign of a crisis where you are? >> reporter: no sign of a crisis, wolf. as you said, the president is on his way back to washington after getting a look at the situation on the border here. earlier today, he declared that the nation is under attack here on the border. i can tell you, wolf, we've been standing here all day long. we don't see any sign of an attack, no sign of an invasion down here on the border. that's not the only misleading thing that the president has said today while in pursuit of his border wall. with an end to the government shutdown nowhere in sight, president trump took his quest for the wall down to the texas border where he claimed the nation is under attack. >> if we had a barrier of any
ki kind, whether it's steel or concrete, we would stop that cold. we're certainly under attack by criminal gangs, but criminals themselves, the human traffickers and drugs of all kinds. much of it comes through the southern border. >> during a round table discussion with law enforcement officials mr. trump was told some border crossers have been digging tunnels under areas where walls are already in place. >> here, this is just a couple of miles from here, from where we're standing. this is a tunnel. this is the second tunnel that we have recently located. this is an area that we actually have wall. >> the president is also trying to rewrite history, clarifying what he meant during the campaign. >> i will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and i will have mexico pay for that wall. >> who's going to pay for the wall? [ crowd:mexico ] >> who's going to pay for the
wall? [ crowd: mexico ] >> i didn't mean please write me a check. i simply mean they're paying for it in the trade deal. >> that's not true. his campaign released various proposals to force mexico to fund the wall stating it's an easy decision to mexico, make a one-time payment of $5 to $10 billion. as he was leaving for the border, the president revealed white house lawyers told him he could declare a state of emergency, an action likely challenged in the courts. >> i have an absolute right to declare a national emergency. the lawyers have so advised me. i'm not prepared to do that yet but if i have to, i will. i have no doubt about it. i will. >> reporter: the president is trying to have it both ways, insisting that the situation at the border is an emergency, while also claiming it's a crisis that started before he came into office. >> it began a long time. ask president obama. obama used to call it a crisis at the border, too. i think he said it in 2014.
look, look, you can all play cute. >> reporter: part of the reason for the president's frustration is that he can't seem to convince democrats to agree to a wall. reesting on his meeting with house speaker pelosi and senate minority leader chuck schumer he said he wasn't losing his cool. >> i strongly said if you're not going to give us strong borders, bye-bye. i didn't rant. i didn't rave, like you reported. some of the newspapers -- schumer always has a standard line. he had a temper tantrum. i don't have temper tantrums. i really don't. >> reporter: still he said he would rather deal with china than the democrats. >> i find china, frankly, in many ways to be far more honorable than crying chuck and nancy. i really do. i think that china is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party. >> reporter: even though it's the president who once said he would be proud to own the
shutdown, he is now offering his own take on harry truman's famous catch phrase the buck stops here. >> the buck stops with everybody. they can solve this problem in literally 15 minutes. >> the president chose one of the safest places in the country to make this pitch for a border wall where we're standing in mcallen, texas, one of the safest places in america. it's been that way for years. they are safe here, despite the fact that they have a hodge podge of different barriers between the u.s. and mexico. those steel slats that the president talks about from time to time. that's right next to a chain-linked fence that you would use in your backyard or something like that. there are also walls, levies, areas where you don't have much of anything. people in this community are telling us all day long that they feel very safe in their hometown. wolf? >> jim acosta in mcallen, texas,
for us. thanks. the shutdown stalemate has deepened and the mood has clearly darkened. let's go to sunlen serfaty with the latest. >> reporter: lindsey graham is basically throwing up his hands, saying this is the end of the road for what congress can do in the stalemate, now calling on president trump to use his emergency powers to fund the construction of the border wall. earlier in the day, senator graham led a group of moderate republicans he had been trying just hours ago, trying to broker a compromise, some sort of deal for parts of the wall in exchange for a tux for daca recipients, aiming to bring democrats to the table. they met with vice president pence and mitch mcconnell here today but it was very clear that
this potential compromise was going nowhere fast. by the end of the day today, senator graham said it is dead and they are now in a complete stalemate. >> i have never been more depressed about moving forward than i am right now. i just don't see a pathway forward. somebody's got to like get some energy to fix this. >> reporter: again to underscore how there's no pathway forward right now on capitol hill no meetings are scheduled, nothing coming up the pike. as it enters the 21st day of the government shutdown tomorrow, many lawmakers will be faced with a question, what do you have to say to these federal workers who tomorrow will not receive their first paycheck? one republican senator tonight was asked that very question and said it as simply as possible. he said it is what it is. it is a standoff. wolf? >> 800,000 federal workers tomorrow will not receive any paycheck at all, dramatic impact on them and their families and thousands of other federal
contractors, they're going to go without pay as well. sun d sunlen, thanks very much. we have a lot to discuss with our political, legal and national security experts. they're all here. they're standing by. we'll take a quick break. much more after this. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? great tasting, heart-healthy california walnuts. so simple, so good. get the recipes at walnuts.org.
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fixer will testify before congress next month. we have a lot to discuss with our experts. gloria, what information are members of congress, specifically the house oversight committee hoping to glean from cohen. >> it's hard to know what they're going to ask. i can tell you that michael cohen likely is going to say he lied to protect the president on a whole viert of issues. in open session since they've gotten clearance -- cohen, we're reporting, has gotten clearance from mueller to talk, i doubt he will be able to talk about things that mueller is looking into as far as russia. some of the interesting questions here, we know they'll ask about the stormy daniels' payoff and the karen mcdougal payoff and how involved the president was in that aspect of the president's problems. but i also think that they're probably going to look back at his false testimony to congress and there was, in the sentencing memo that the sdny provided and
also mueller, correct, provided, there is a point in it that says that michael cohen consulted with an administration official before he delivered his false testimony. they may want to know a lot more about that. who was that administration official? was there some kind of coordination with the white house about delivering false testimony to congress, for which he has been prosecuted? >> that's a significant charge if, in fact, they learn the identity of this administration official. >> and coordination. >> and coordination, yeah. >> what was the extent of it? >> justice, that gets into all of that. bianna, how concerned should the president be? >> any time the president hears mueller or cohen, it's not a good moment for him. especially on a day like today when attention was diverted away from the southern border, which we know the president in his meeting with reporters, said he didn't want to go to and didn't
think he would make a difference and instead focusing down there. and on his trip we get this michael cohen news. on one hand i'm sure it's a headache for him, another blast from the past. he will likely describe this as a scorned former lawyer who has been, obviously, outed as a liar in the past and so why would anything he say now matter, though i think the visual medium of him sitting there, testifying for the public to hear him for the first time could really make an impact, if not just for that one day, but going to the current crisis at hand. it could, in fact, force the president to dig his heels in even deeper with regards to a border wall and then, you know, putting any idea of perhaps a deal coming any time soon or the government reopening any time soon even further down the pike. >> susan, what is cohen testifying in open session next month before the house committee tell you about the state of the mueller investigation right now? >> i think it could potentially
tell us quite a lot, especially now that we know that mueller has consulted with cohen. usually they do not want individuals to give testimony in an open session about anything related to an ongoing matter. congress and the executive branch often have to negotiate the lines of this testimony. in some ways the more that michael cohen is able to talk about, that might be an indication that the mueller investigation is close to wrapping up. on the other hand, the entire topic of russia, for example, that gets taken off the table and put into close session, that's an indication that that's information that robert mueller thinks is part of an ongoing investigation. he doesn't want michael cohen to -- >> i think he cleared cohen to testify and the committee to go ahead and have this open hearing. >> we don't know whether or not there's been communication between the special counsel's office. >> wouldn't elijah cummings, chairman of this committee, seek that kind of green light from mueller before he goes ahead and
says there's going to be an open hearing like this, where you have live tv cameras inside? >> typically we would absolutely expect that kind of coordination and the last thing the dems want to do is compromise or in any way harm mueller's inquiry. >> there's another development we're watching, sabrina. cnn has learned that the main pollster for the trump campaign, tony fabrizio, he was called to testify last year before mueller and his team on the polling information. we now know that paul manafort, the campaign chairman, was secretly providing sensitive, internal campaign polling information to the russians through this individual. what does this all mean? >> this meeting took place in february 2018, almost a year ago. it was previously unreported. it obviously does take on new significance, following the revelations that paul manafort shared internal campaign polling data with an associate of his who has known ties to russian
intelligence. now it's not entirely clear if mueller's team asked tony fabrizio about that exchange or if he was aware of it. tony fabrizio is someone who is significant, he was recruited by paul manafort to join the trump campaign based on his prior work with manafort in ukraine. he has intimate knowledge of the trump campaign but also paul manafort's business dealings in eastern europe. >> significant development that we also learned, the legal expert, susan, that the white house is hiring a whole bunch of lawyers right now, gearing up for the release of this report. the president, he keeps saying, including today, but has said for so long, no collusion. listen to this. >> again, john, there has been no collusion between the trump campaign and russians or trump and russians. no collusion. bottom line, they all say
there's no collusion. and there is no collusion. i can only say this. there was absolutely no collusion, but it has been determined that there is no collusion. when they have no collusion and nobody has found any collusion at any level -- >> exactly almost one year ago in which he said all of that. but lawyering up -- lawyering up, is that something that people have nothing to fear about collusion would be doing? >> i don't think the fact that they're hiring lots and lots of lawyers. that would be expected. i do think it indicates to which they're concerned, legal theories related to blocking the report from coming out to the public. i think they're doing that because they understand this report is going to be extraordinarily damaging. we know it's going to be damaging because the information that is already public, of course, is incredibly damaging to the president. even if these lawyers attempt to block this report from coming out, it's not going to work. executive privilege is not an absolute privilege, even if they're able to assert it in this case. it's a balancing test about the
availability of other information, the need for the requesting party. richard nixon already fought these and lost. the trump's legal team understands these are not winning argument. >> it would delay things. that's the whole point. if they say let's redact this. they didn't claim privilege at first, when people went in for their interviews, but reserved the right to claim privilege later. if they claim privilege then congress can challenge this and then you can have a constitutional fight here with the white house versus the congress and it goes to -- who knows, the supreme court. >> go ahead, bianna. >> the lawyering up isn't necessarily all mueller related. what's different now is you have a democrat-controlled house. whereas in the past, you know, they weren't worried as much about being subpoenaed and to have to present any sort of paper and to actually have to testify before congress. times are different right now, clearly as we've heard and found out from the news that cohen, in
fact, will be testifying today. >> you want to button this up? >> bianna raises a good point. now that democrats are in control of the house, the white house has been bracing for an onslaught of investigations. we focus on potential collusion between the trump campaign and moscow but also the hush money paid to women who allege having an affair with the president, with the president, what they may have known, misuse of taxpayer funds by members of the trump cabinet, ongoing issue of the president not having released his tax returns as well as his business dealings and the list goes on and on and on. some of that hiring up has to do with what they're bracing for from democrats. >> february 6th, cohen testifies in open session. we'll be watching. february 7th. >> february 7th. >> march 6th, he begins his prison sentence. february 7th, he begins the testimony that could go for hours and hours and hours. >> right. in the wake of kim jong-un's
visit to behinda, new momentum for a second summit between the north korean leader and president trump. we have new information. stand by for details. there goes our first big order. ♪ 44, 45, 46... how many of these did they order? ooh, that's hot. ♪ you know, we could sell these. nah. ♪ we don't bake. ♪ opportunity. what we deliver by delivering. [[clap, clap]] ♪ hey, jen, which tie says, "trustworthy but also fun"? gold down, oil up. oil down, gold up. this is too busy. we need to make sure people can actually use this stuff. which one says, "hours of free live streaming coverage without cable or subscription fees"? aluminum, aluminum? you ready, zack? oh, we're ready.
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south korea's president is dropping strong hints that he thinks a second summit is imminent. tonight, there's also something which bears watching for president trump and his team. kim jong-un has been working his relationships with two key leaders which could work against president trump at a summit. following a secret trip to china on his armored train, kim jong-un has emerged with two key world leaders by his side as he angles for a second summit with president trump. one of the brokers, president moon jae-in, says he is expecting to hear news soon of a second summit, hinting it could be imminent. >> translator: the second north korea/united states summit to take place soon and the reciprocal visit to seoul will be other turning points that will solidify peace on the korean peninsula. >> reporter: just about every
side in this process needs a win right now. south korea's moon jae-in tonight is seen as hell bebnt t push a peace deal. moon is suffering at home. sees a denuclearization deal as key to his political survival and is seen as making moves that might go against the interests of the united states, which he partially depends on for his country's security. >> moon is trying to mediate between the two. he is mostly adopting kim jong-un's negotiating position, which is the united states should give sanctions relief on a partial basis. so it seems that moon is pretty much working with kim jong-un against the united states. >> reporter: the other power broker in kim's corner? chinese president xi, who kim traveled 800 miles by rail to meet. >> it's about reminding the white house that china is central to this discussion and nothing will happen here that doesn't include the chinese.
>> reporter: kim was in china this week at the very same time that top american trade negotiators were also there. trying to work their way out of a trade war with china. experts say that was no coincidence. xi is holding his influence with north korea over president trump. what is the danger to the united states of xi being so powerful right now with north korea and the u.s.? >> i think the risk for the u.s. and china's leverage is if we don't make progress in the north korea/u.s. channel, this gives kim a lot of leverage to say, i have the chinese backing me. you need to make more concessions on peace treaty and so on before i'm willing to declare what i have in terms of nuclear capability. >> reporter: will president trump give in to the leverage that they might have? some analysts are worried trump might do that. they point out that trump has been bruised by midterm election losses, the shutdown, the turmoil over the syria withdrawal announcement. he might be desperate enough for
a win that he will give away too much in the next summit with kim jong-un. >> you are hearing, brian, sensitive issues with kim having come up in the planning for a location for this second summit. >> yes. one administration official told cnn the white house reached out to try to get kim to go to switzerland. the team thought kim would like that because he went to school in switzerland in the 1990s. they could not make that happen, partially because of the distance and the fact that kim jong-un was still very sensitive about the criticism he received for borrowing a chinese plane to travel to singapore for that summit. the optics so crucial to kim jong-un. >> brian todd, thank you. coming up, the breaking news. with shutdown negotiations in a state of collapse, president trump heads back from the border ready to declare a national emergency to get his wall built. as the president's former lawyer michael cohen agrees to testify publically, the white house prepares for a fight over robert
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mr. trump's former fixer and lawyer agrees to appear before congress and publically give answers to the american people. how damaging could michael cohen's testimony be to the president he turned against? keeping it secret. white house is lawyering up before the release of mueller's report exploring claims of executive privilege to hide chunks of the findings. would the strategy work? basis for obstruction. we're learning that mueller's team is focusing in on mr. trump's conflicting public statements, including his tweets that could be seen as part of an effort to influence witnesses and obstruct justice. stand by for the exclusive details. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. we're following a